Palestine tries to sue Israeli settler who set up their own airstrip in the West Bank
A controversial flight (picture courtesy of Delivery Airplane).
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The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) is taking measures to sue an Israeli colony resident who set up an airstrip in the colony of Alumot near the city of Nablus in the West Bank.
Former Israeli Air Force pilot, Yedidya Meshulami, who moved to the area in 1996 with his family set up an airstrip with a runway in the colony. Meshulami flies around the West Bank in a light airplane which he bought.
The Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported on Tuesday that the airstrip Meshulami built was located on Palestinian privately owned land. The man told the daily that he decided to make ‘a connection between the heavens and the earth’ from his colony of Alumot which is also known as Givat Yatayas (meaning ‘The Pilot’s Hill’).
As per Israeli law and within the Green Line, the Israeli needs a permit to build an airstrip, but the Israeli Airports Authority does not operate in the West Bank. Also as per the Israeli law, light planes are banned in the West Bank as Israeli aviation’s regulations stipulate that planes must fly at an altitude of at least 8,000 feet in the area, which is too high for a light plane. The daily said that so far the Israeli concerned authorities have been silent on the matter of Meshulami. The Israeli Civil Administration which handles the West Bank commented that issue is being handled.
Speaking to Gulf News, Gassan Doghlous, the PNA official in charge of the Colonial Activities in the Northern areas of the West Bank, said that the colonist has been flying over the West Bank without any restrictions. “This colonist may strike neighbouring Palestinian villages or spray dangerous material on the residents,” he said.
“When we heard about his actions, we assumed that it was not true, but we see his plane flying regularly over the West Bank,” he said.
He added that Meshulami has been receiving visitors in light planes and flying colony neighbours to different areas of the West Bank.
The PNA is searching for the Palestinian owners of the land which Meshulami occupied to build his airstrip. “We will sue this colonist with all the Israeli concerned authorities and courts,” he said. “From the bottom of our hearts, we know that nothing will be done to this colonist and he will continue his flying over the West Bank, but still we have to do what we have to do.”
By Nasouh Nazzal, Correspondent
Should settlers be allowed to create their own airstrip? What about settlers taking over land in the West Bank? Tell us what you think below.
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